Participating in democracy a must

To the Editor:

At a recent meeting of the Sylva-Dillsboro Combined precinct “steering committee,” the question arose, “Why should I attend a precinct meeting?” 

While I had an idea, or I wouldn’t have been there, I struggled to put my response into words. I truly wanted to be able to answer this question, so I reached out to other precinct/party officers looking for the words I had struggled to find. They came through for me.

In the days of our founders, a “virtuous” man was a person who willingly dedicated part of their time to help their neighbors, their community, and their country. They believed that a democratic republic relied on such public virtue and on a complementary quality, public vigilance – the vigilant safe-guarding of your and your neighbors’ rights from people who would willingly cast them aside for power. For most of us that service can most conveniently and effectively come at a precinct level – within your neighborhood. 

It’s there we can meet, plan and operationalize the means of getting out our local voters to ensure the victories of only “virtuous” men and women, those who reflect the values both of our neighborhoods and our Constitution. Often the greatest influence in getting a potential voter engaged is personal, one-on-one.

Today’s political districts have far too many people for voters and candidates to know each other well. Ask any candidate running for a state office and they will tell you that the precinct level is where they want to meet people, talk to them, shake hands.

 Most of us get our information digitally and there is more of it than we can digest. 

When we sit down with people who share a common purpose, it gives us the chance to make sense of all the information as we bounce ideas around and to grow stronger through the diversity of our life experiences and our gifts. 

There is a synergy that can’t be created, nurtured, or experienced by reading a newsletter. Synergy is the interaction or cooperation of two or more individuals to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. 

Being engaged in these activities is fun, rewarding, and energizing.

Many people think getting their neighbors to the polls, helping them become knowledgeable about issues and candidates, and building a candidate bench is a task for someone else. 

It’s not. 

It’s our collective responsibility and when we fail to do it democratic republics can wither. Most Americans do not even know the party leaders in the precinct in which they reside and vote. 

Let’s change that! The Sylva-Dillsboro Democrats invite you to join us at our headquarters, 500 Mill St., Sylva, on Oct. 18 starting at 6:30 p.m. for a soup and bread supper, followed by a precinct meeting from 7-8 p.m. Come enjoy a good meal, share your energy and ideas, meet some of your neighbors, and find out how you can contribute to the continuation of our democracy.

Kristin Kane, Sylva